Identity, Beliefs, and Political Conflict

72 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2018

See all articles by Nicola Gennaioli

Nicola Gennaioli

Bocconi University - Department of Finance; Bocconi University - IGIER - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research

Guido Tabellini

Bocconi University - Department of Economics; Bocconi University - IGIER - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research; Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research (CESifo)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 13, 2018

Abstract

We present a theory of identity politics that builds on two ideas. First, voters identify with the social group whose interests are closest to theirs and that features the strongest policy conflict with outgroups. Second, identification causes voters to slant their beliefs toward the group's distinctive opinion. The theory yields two main implications: i) voters' beliefs are polarized and distorted along group boundaries; ii) economic shocks that induce new cleavages to emerge also bring about large changes in beliefs and preferences across many policy issues. In particular, exposure to globalization or cultural changes may induce voters to switch identities, dampening their demand for redistribution and exacerbating conflicts in other social dimensions. We show that survey evidence is consistent with these implications.

Suggested Citation

Gennaioli, Nicola and Tabellini, Guido, Identity, Beliefs, and Political Conflict (December 13, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3300726 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3300726

Nicola Gennaioli

Bocconi University - Department of Finance ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milano, MI 20136
Italy

Bocconi University - IGIER - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Guido Tabellini (Contact Author)

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Gobbi 5
Milan, 20136
Italy

Bocconi University - IGIER - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research (CESifo)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

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